“Years ago a young husband was studying to be a pastor while his wife worked part-time. After they paid their bills, little was left for food. So they ate a lot of oatmeal—usually three times a day.
One afternoon the husband came home with a letter from a former professor. The man would be in their area and wanted to have dinner—the next day!
The husband took a deep breath. “We gotta pray.”
As they bowed their heads, he said, “Lord, I know it’s prideful, but we can’t serve this godly man oatmeal. So we ask you to provide a good meal for him.”
He turned to his wife. “If you could cook for company, what would you serve?”
She smiled. “I have Mama’s meatloaf recipe.”
The husband grabbed pencil and paper. “What would you need?”
“What would you serve with it?”
“Baked potatoes. With sour cream and butter. And green beans. Strawberries would be a good dessert.”
The husband prayed, “Lord, here’s what we’re asking You to provide. We trust You.” He turned to his wife. “When do you need these things?”
“No later than 2:30. I can have dinner ready by 6:00.”
The next day the husband rushed home after his final class. He smelled meat cooking! He hurried to embrace his wife. “What happened?”
She opened the oven to show the meatloaf next to three large potatoes. “At 2:20 somebody knocked at the door. But nobody was there. Just a box with everything we asked for.”
They had a lovely dinner with the former professor. And after the husband became a pastor, that meal remained as their family faith story. Whenever they faced tough times, they would remember God’s provision.
Eventually the husband became an evangelist, and a trip took him to the town where he had studied. At a local church, he spoke about God’s provision.
An elderly woman greeted him after the service. “Thank you for the meatloaf story. You have cleared up something that has bothered me for years. My husband and I owned the little store where you and your wife bought oatmeal. Only oatmeal. We wanted to help, but as we prayed, it was as though the Lord said, ‘Not yet.’
“Then one morning, I knew the Lord was saying, ‘Today’s the day!’ I couldn’t wait to get to the store. I picked up two large baking potatoes. The Lord said, ‘Get three.’ So I put three potatoes in the cart, along with sour cream and butter. Then I grabbed three handfuls of fresh green beans. And beautiful strawberries. Cream, too. I went to the meat case and selected the biggest steaks there. But the Lord said, ‘No.’ So I touched a roast and heard within my spirit another ‘No.’ I put my hands on the pork chops. Same thought. Finally I plopped my hand on the hamburger. And the Lord said, ‘Two pounds.’
The old woman smiled. “Now I understand. The Lord would have given you steak, but you asked for hamburger!”
Sandra P. Aldrich is president and CEO of Bold Words, Inc., and a Christian Writers Guild mentor. Her 500-plus articles have appeared in such magazines as Focus on the Family, Moody, Today’s Christian Woman, and Discipleship Journal.
Photo credit: Suat Eman